Evidence Gülenist figure Baransu presented in coup plot case ‘definitely fabricated’
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMay 07, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
May 07, 2015 12:00 am
The Anadolu 4th High Criminal Court, which ruled for the acquittal of all 236 Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case suspects in late March, has prepared its report to justify the decision. The report says that the digital evidence presented to the court by the journalist Mehmet Baransu, who is currently under arrest, is "definitely fabricated," and there is a strong suspicion that the other evidence that was put forth as the basis of the court ruling that convicted the suspects was also falsified.
A new trial began for the Sledgehammer coup plot case suspects after the Constitutional Court ruled for a retrial of the convicted members of the military, citing violations of their rights. The suspects were originally convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The term that was previously life imprisonment but was reduced since the alleged coup attempt was not carried out successfully. They were later released upon the ruling of the Constitutional Court and the case was heard again, this time at the Anadolu 4th High Criminal Court. They were recently acquitted by that court on the grounds that the digital data in the file that was presented as the key piece of evidence in the case cannot serve as evidence in court since an expert report revealed its falsity.
The decision by the court consists of seven parts, the first of which includes the indictment and the identity of the defendants. The decision also covers the defense of the suspects and the lawyers, evidence and statements from witnesses and the evidence that was collected after the decision for retrial.
The court assessing the assembled data for the case said it ruled for the acquittal of the suspects as there is a lack of concrete, convincing evidence that is sufficient for their conviction. The court also asserted that while the plot was alleged to have been made in 2002, it had only been four months since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had been elected. In addition, the suspects' so-called unease about the government's deeds and its prompting a coup plot are not logical.
It further explains the documents submitted to the court as evidence by Baransu did not bear an original signature and the printouts could not be directly attributed to the suspects.
Gülen Movement-affiliated journalist Mehmet Baransu of Taraf daily was sent to court on March 1 following a demand for his arrest for plotting against some of the suspects of the Sledgehammer trial. He was arrested on a warrant from an Istanbul court and is pending trial. Baransu is facing charges that he was engaged in plotting against some suspects by fabricating evidence.
The Sledgehammer case refers to an alleged coup plot staged by the First Army Command between March 5 and March 7, 2003 in an alleged attempt to overthrow the government. The five-stage plan was allegedly prepared by a junta under the leadership of the-then First Army Commander Çetin Doğan. The five phases are said to have included the "Oraj plan" by the Air Force and the "Suga pla"n by the Navy, in an attempt to foment chaos and lay the groundwork for a coup. Other plans involved targeting religious leaders, non-Muslim community leaders, anti-coup academics and pro-democracy journalists. According to the alleged coup plot, the bombing of the Fatih and Beyazit Mosques would have forced the government to implement martial law while the downing of a Turkish warplane over Greek airfields would have provoked the Turkish public.
The specially authorized courts that heard critical cases, including the Sledgehammer case, were abolished in 2014. These courts were suspected of being partial in their rulings, with members of the Gülen Movement suspected of being members of the judiciary that heard the cases.